There have been many stories of prescription drug addicts robbing their family medicine cabinets to get high from pain killers, but now addicts are going as far as stealing from pharmacies to support their habit.
According to the Iowa Office of Drug Control Policy, prescription drug robberies have spiked 80% in four years, and many addicts are now stealing directly from pharmacies.
The trend is growing in Iowa and one pharmacist says he is aware of the risks and they are taking measures to prevent it.
Tracey King is a pharmacist at Rashid Drug in Fort Madison and says securing their drugs from theft is a top priority, especially controlled substances that people can easily get addicted to.
"Your Oxycontin, your Percocets, morphine based drugs."
King says that's why his pharmacy has extra security measures in place.
"Pharmacies will have their own alarm systems, camera systems, not just pointing at the registers but at their inventory as well," said King.
And the inventory they're most worried about are the painkillers.
"The more tightly controlled drugs will be locked up in their own cabinet and only pharmacists would be allowed to get into those," said King.
King says his staff also observes the patterns of customers and thoroughly examines prescriptions to prevent getting unprescribed drugs in the hands of addicts.
Keokuk Assistant Police Chief Jay Whitaker says addicts are turning to these extreme measures to get high, because prescription drugs can be hard to get your hands on when your supply runs dry.
"They only can come from certain places. Like meth can be made by an individual, but pain killers cannot," said Whitaker.
And Whitaker says when the medicines cabinets are bare, the drug addicts get more creative.
"They have to obtain it from somewhere. When that supply runs out wherever they're stealing it from, whether its a relative's medicine cabinet. They need to fix that addiction and one way of doing that is robbing pharmacies," said Whitaker.
King say they have had instances of people trying to get prescription drugs illegally at their store, but they haven't had any break-ins.
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